Regulation of Medical Blogs ( paul.grech) 13/05/2007, 15:42
I know many medical bloggers lurk on DNUK looking for material so I was hoping to get some views on a letter I was planning to write to Patricia Hewitt pointing out the need for regulation of this burgeoning area of medical activity.
Dear Ms Hewitt,
I wish to bring to your attention the activities of certain medical practitioners, known as "Medical Bloggers" who, acting in a completely unregulated way, are undermining the morale of NHS staff, particularly managers and nurse practitioners, and damaging the confidence patients have in the government stewardship of medical services.
Some of the more notorious sites such as the tasteless Dr Rant (http://www.drrant.net) have, I regret to inform you, been less than generous in their assessment of yourself and your predecessors in the Department of Health. By pointing out deficiencies in the NHS I believe these sites are subversive and serve to increase patient anxiety. It may be that these sites seek to drive patients to the private sector by circulating tales of patients being treated by unqualified quacktitioners on MRSA infested NHS wards and in support of this I would point you to the large number of advertisements for private care on the disgraceful Dr Crippen Blogsite. (http://nhsblogdoc.blogspot.com)
I propose that the interests of patients and the overwhelming majority of hardworking nurses, managers and doctors be protected by a system of compulsory regulation of medical bloggers overseen by a new department within the Department of Health called Modernizing Medical Blogging(MMB). This department would be equipped with the most comprehensive and advanced computer systems sourced from the the market leading IT supplier, Joe's Komputer Korner@Kilburn and headed by a blogger Tzar at a rate of renumeration set to attract an international high-flier (such as, I hesitate to suggest, myself).
MMB would be revenue neutral by requiring all bloggers to pay a nominal annual fee of say £350 linked to x3 the annual increasea in doctors pay in return for a licence for medical blogging(LfMB). Compulsory indemnity cover will be provided by the reputable financial institution, Sue Uras & Runn, for a modest additional fee.
I further propose that standards of medical blogging be set and monitored by an independent committee of your choosing, later to acquire a Royal Charter and to be known as the Royal College of Medical Bloggers. Membership of the RCOMB will be voluntary and anyone wishing to blog without paying the modest membership fee will be permitted to do so provided they do not use the internet.
Overseeing conformity to standards will be the Medical Blogging Council (MBC) who will have powers to levy unlimited fines, instigate GMC and Inland Revenue investigations and suspend doctors on no other evidence than a malicious tip off.
Applications for Medical Blogging licences will be online using a secure computer network and require details of sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, income, parents income, schools attended and types of property owned. This will ensure that licences are issued on an equitable
basis and keep out those Tory Voting GPs and Hospital Consultants and other dark forces of conservatism.
In order to redress the imbalance caused by the current wave of cynical unregulated medical bloggers, highly trained allied health professionals such as nurse practitioners should be sent on a course and empowered to spend more time blogging. Hospital Trusts and NHS GP Practices should be incentivised to employ such experts in newly created full-time paid Medical Blogging posts.
I remain Madam, your most faithful servant and hope that this letter finds you still in your present cabinet post.